Netflix “Bad Sport” documentary series (featuring SLC Pairs)

skatingguy

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But receptivity of the audience makes a difference too. I was at Minneapolis Worlds and the hostility of the audience to K/O was tangible. The audience in SLC Worlds had been fed literally years of propaganda about the Evil Russians and wronged Americans and Canadians at that point (this is not, by the way, to say there weren't necessarily problems with the judging system - just to say that the level of bias in the coverage and the way it implied that some judges were EVIL and others were SAINTLY seemed a little over the top). So of course they were going to receive S/P differently than B/S. This is part of why I felt the North American commentary of that era was so problematic, because it felt like it was designed to accomplish exactly what happened in SLC.
We have to remember that these Olympics happened just 6 months after 9/11, and before the invasion of Iraq. The Russians were not considered an enemy at the time. There was a lot optimism about the relatively new Russian President Vladimir Putin, and it was hoped that he would bring some stability to Russia & revitalize the economy. The Russians were also supposedly cooperating with the Americans to identify targets inside Afghanistan. Sporting wise the Russians were not the powerhouse that the Soviet Union had been, and the United States was emerging as a winter sports power, so all in all I think the American public probably wasn't giving much thought to the Russians in general. In terms of figure skating, Russians had become quite popular in the US. Many of the stars & coaches of Russian skating had moved to the US post 1994, and were featured in tours & numerous television specials & competitions.
 

michalle

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What does that have to do with the way skating commentators themselves covered the sport? I wasn't talking about international relations, just the coverage on US networks and what their commentators were saying. They thought they had found the golden goose with the Tonya/Nancy scandal and they were definitely trying to stretch it out by creating a new story with evil Russia vs. saintly US/Canada. The irony is that the very changes that were pushed in the wake of SLC appear to have created a Russian skating empire and the sport is in a pretty bad state in North America. I wonder how some of the individuals involved feel about their choices now.

Also, aren't you from Canada? Are you mansplaining the US to me?
 
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viennese

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We have to remember that these Olympics happened just 6 months after 9/11, and before the invasion of Iraq. The Russians were not considered an enemy at the time. There was a lot optimism about the relatively new Russian President Vladimir Putin, and it was hoped that he would bring some stability to Russia & revitalize the economy. The Russians were also supposedly cooperating with the Americans to identify targets inside Afghanistan. Sporting wise the Russians were not the powerhouse that the Soviet Union had been, and the United States was emerging as a winter sports power, so all in all I think the American public probably wasn't giving much thought to the Russians in general. In terms of figure skating, Russians had become quite popular in the US. Many of the stars & coaches of Russian skating had moved to the US post 1994, and were featured in tours & numerous television specials & competitions.

Too right. The "Cold War on Ice" angle, at least at that time, tended to come from sportswriters and commentators. There was lots of positive coverage of the former Soviet skating coaches, like Moskvina, who were thriving in the US and Canada and the many US and European skaters they brought to the Olympics.

One of Jamie Sale's remarks - feeling like Salt Lake City was home ice - rang true. There were so many US and Canadian fans at the pairs final, it was no wonder that the place would go crazy for Sale and Pelletier going clean.

But watching at home, I felt that the Russians, even with small visible errors, should have won the gold on the artistic mark. Well, at least the craziness led to the change in the scoring system.

Did they ever add a feature of dropping the high and low marks?
 

skatingguy

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What does that have to do with the way skating commentators themselves covered the sport? I wasn't talking about international relations, just the coverage on US networks and what their commentators were saying. They thought they had found the golden goose with the Tonya/Nancy scandal and they were definitely trying to stretch it out by creating a new story with evil Russia vs. saintly US/Canada. The irony is that the very changes that were pushed in the wake of SLC appear to have created a Russian skating empire and the sport is in a pretty bad state in North America. I wonder how some of the individuals involved feel about their choices now.

Also, aren't you from Canada? Are you mansplaining the US to me?
I have no idea what nationality you are, or your gender for that matter.
 

gkelly

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Did they ever add a feature of dropping the high and low marks?

Yes.

First (2003 and 2004 seasons) there was the "Interim system" which was 6.0 OBO judging with high and low scores dropped and the scores displayed out of order to anonymize the judges.

In IJS, at events with at least 5 judges which includes all elite events, the high and low scores are dropped for each element and each GOE before averaging the rest.
 

sk8pics

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I was in the arena in SLC too, but I can’t remember so much of my reaction. I think I probably wanted S/P to win, but I don’t remember booing at the results.

I was also at the same hotel where the French judge stayed.
 

Judy

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What does that have to do with the way skating commentators themselves covered the sport? I wasn't talking about international relations, just the coverage on US networks and what their commentators were saying. They thought they had found the golden goose with the Tonya/Nancy scandal and they were definitely trying to stretch it out by creating a new story with evil Russia vs. saintly US/Canada. The irony is that the very changes that were pushed in the wake of SLC appear to have created a Russian skating empire and the sport is in a pretty bad state in North America. I wonder how some of the individuals involved feel about their choices now.

Also, aren't you from Canada? Are you mansplaining the US to me?
I am not sure what commentators have to do with anything. The entire issue was Speedy never, ever doing anything to address the cheating in the sport. It cannot be denied.

For me it pushed me away from the sport for many years. I always wanted them to be judged just for their skating.

I am happy that there was a big overhaul of judging and I feel that ice dancing has has really benefitted from it.

I won't watch the episode on Netflix as I felt the entire thing was just a disgusting revelation about the politics of dirty judging. Neither of those teams deserved that.
 

tony

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Regardless of what the political world was at the time of the 2002 Olympics, the North America vs. Russia (or the world) 'sides' was still a huge thing going into those Games. How many times can we go over the talks of 'trading medals' or ordinals that was even making noise before the event started? (ETA here- even back then, skating message boards would see the judging panel draws and immediately exclaim that X skater had no shot because of the composition of the panel). The US (and Canadian) media was trying to shove injustices down fans' throats for the entire Olympiad, running off of the B/K stuff in Nagano. Yet every time a questionable result happened benefitting North America (typically involving Canadian skaters- ex. B/K GPF 2002 win, S/P winning the short there, S/P 2001 Worlds win, D/L bronze at least once at Skate Canada), it was all fine and dandy. Of course, Russia/former USSR didn't help themselves with instances like the taped conversation during Nagano or the tapping of the foot at 1999 Worlds. But Jean Senft went along with the precious plan in an attempt to get B/K bronze in Nagano and then became some supposed saint after it didn't happen. Nope...

I've talked about this a few other times, but when Lifetime TV picked up the Grand Prix for pairs/dance starting in the 1999-2000 season, we got a lot more of a glimpse into behind the scenes stuff, kiss and cry conversations, things that happened once skaters walked out of that area, and the like. The Cup of Russia telecast that season went above and beyond to show how much B/K and Dubova were complaining, but at the same time kept showing judging breakdowns to make it seem like certain judges were aligned together to make sure FP/M won. 2001 Worlds came around and fans were super pissed at the dance result: a combination of not agreeing with L/A being on the podium and rather wanting B/K and/or sentimental favorites D/V there instead. But the way the media kept portraying it throughout the years wasn't helping. I wasn't even in high school yet when the Lifetime stuff started airing and even I thought it was all nonsense how hard they were trying, and I was also annoyed with North American media going above and beyond to scream scandal at seemingly every turn, and then of course keep their mouths shut when it was reversed and benefited their skaters.

I really loved S/P at Skate America in 1999. I felt B/S were the far superior skaters and really wanted them to win in SLC. I thought the SP was no contest regardless of the ending pose fall, and I remember thinking at the end of S/P's performance that the judges would probably give it to them, but I still thought it belonged to B/S. So of course, I was pleasantly surprised for a few seconds until NBC went into crisis mode and Bezic didn't try to even explain the things she had been previously citing as reasons for why B/S came in with a little advantage.

2001 Worlds really was the tipping-point for me to see the hypocrisy in action. S/P staying 3rd in the short program over P/T-- okay, there can be an argument made. But the LP and winning over B/S? Nope. Not IMO.

In the end, it did result in the IJS being created and even though 6.0 had a real thrill to it (especially when those ordinals cascaded in on the screen), IJS is just so much better in many ways. I love that we actually do see movement, and I'm glad we are out of the days where qualifying rounds counted so much into a final score at Championships that a skater who won their qualifying group and finished 3rd place in the short program didn't 'control their own destiny', as Gannon loved to say. Rizzo from 19th / 1st this weekend? In 6.0, his base mark likely would've been way down for skating so early and he would've been stuck way outside the top 10.
 
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MacMadame

Doing all the things
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Why is this considered a controversial competition? A judge admitted to cheating. If the judge didn’t cheat, there would not have been two gold medals 🤷‍♀️ It’s really black and white if you ask me.
I don't think it's black and white. The judge claimed she didn't vote the way she was pressured. 🤷‍♀️ However, I do think when there is an allegation of cheating, a second Gold makes sense.
 

attyfan

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I'm sorry, but after reading of so many instances of abusive skating coaches being tolerated by their respective federations, the SLC judging mess strikes me now as comparatively small potatoes. I know it was more influential (the judging scandal generated some action, in the form of the IJS, but so far, very little if anything about getting rid of abusive coaches) but still ...
 

Judy

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I'm sorry, but after reading of so many instances of abusive skating coaches being tolerated by their respective federations, the SLC judging mess strikes me now as comparatively small potatoes. I know it was more influential (the judging scandal generated some action, in the form of the IJS, but so far, very little if anything about getting rid of abusive coaches) but still ...
It's two different situations completely. The whole integrity of the sport was in jeopardy back then. The popularity as per tv audiences and skating shows plummeted.

The abuse by coaches will hopefully change and be fixed. I don't think it's the majority of them. But that is really a different issue from judging.
 

sadya

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I watched the episode today. I agree they didn't explain enough of what happened there. I missed different angles. I'd love to watch a documentary one day which doesn't take any side and shows all angles, allowing the audience to make up their minds about this.

Little things also annoyed me, such as Sale saying that their skating was playful, and that B/S didn't do that. No mention of their Chaplin skate the previous year. B/S were capable of doing different styles. The documentary never went into the controversial and undeserved win of Sale/Pelletier at Worlds the previous season. Unfortunately these things happen in skating. B/S had their own controversial win in 1999 I believe, when people thought the Chinese should have won.

What confuses me is that they kept saying that this scandal changed the scoring. But at the time, I read in several (online) articles that the new system was in development already, before that Salt Lake City scandal. Which is it?

No matter who we think should have won, the fact remains that something was going on behind the scenes which was unfair. That's a pity. I've enjoyed watching both pairs and I thought that everything was okay between them. But listening to Sale talk about this, it seems from her side it's not okay. I don't believe that B/S and Moskvina would ever play false just to win. It's unfair to suggest they'd go along with something like that.

Seeing both Moskvina and Berezhnaiah in this documentary, I thought this one would show different sides as objectively as possible. I'm disappointed that it didn't.
 

viennese

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I've talked about this a few other times, but when Lifetime TV picked up the Grand Prix for pairs/dance starting in the 1999-2000 season, we got a lot more of a glimpse into behind the scenes stuff, kiss and cry conversations, things that happened once skaters walked out of that area, and the like. The Cup of Russia telecast that season went above and beyond to show how much B/K and Dubova were complaining, but at the same time kept showing judging breakdowns to make it seem like certain judges were aligned together to make sure FP/M won. 2001 Worlds came around and fans were super pissed at the dance result: a combination of not agreeing with L/A being on the podium and rather wanting B/K and/or sentimental favorites D/V there instead. But the way the media kept portraying it throughout the years wasn't helping. I wasn't even in high school yet when the Lifetime stuff started airing and even I thought it was all nonsense how hard they were trying, and I was also annoyed with North American media going above and beyond to scream scandal at seemingly every turn, and then of course keep their mouths shut when it was reversed and benefited their skaters.

I do remember all the in-depth coverage of ice dance that grew out of Salt Lake City, focusing on the scoring and the rise of North American teams. I was never much interested in dance before, but the increased coverage definitely helped me to understand the incredibly difficulty of ice dance and all the hard work that went into the programs.

Some of our best commentators are those with dance and choreographic experience. They're the ones who manage to explain the nerdy details while still making it all sound fun.
 

Judy

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2002 .. wow such a long time ago. I haven't thought about that Olympics in a very long time.
 

Willin

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Christine Brennan's take on this whole thing during her TSL interview was very interesting. She says you could've made an argument for either team to win. As a skating fan she didn't have a problem with the result, but as a reporter she had to report the story for her employer and in a way that fit the narrative and idea that Scott Hamilton birthed into the world during the broadcast. She also knew that the scoop and tips she got provided evidence that Scott was right. Kind of interesting to hear how her opinions as a fan compared to her behavior as a reporter.
 

Judy

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I believe that S&P truly had the skate of their life that night and B&S just didn't. When a French judge says that she had no choice and that it was a deal with the Russians .. well. So the French judge has her mark - rightfully - thrown out and it is a tie.

I did end up watching the segment on Netflix and found it good. It was great listening to both perspectives.

We all remember that Didier was always a piece of garbage.
 
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Lemonade20

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I remember watching it and having all the feels for my fellow Canadians, only to have my heart ripped out when they got silver first time around. You can see it all over their faces, and the audience knew something was up. I don't recall the whole "evil Russians" theme, but I do remember the Russians refused to back down. They did put up a great skate and the whole dirty judge thing made me sick. Changing the judging system is one way to ensure it doesn't happen again, but in a way we still have a long way to go.
 

Karen-W

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What confuses me is that they kept saying that this scandal changed the scoring. But at the time, I read in several (online) articles that the new system was in development already, before that Salt Lake City scandal. Which is it?
Speedy wanted a new scoring system well before the SLC pairs scandal. I can't remember which competition it was (sometime around 1996-98) where the ordinals flipped and caused the skater in 1st (Urmanov maybe?) to drop behind the skater in 2nd after the final skater's marks were announced. Speedy couldn't understand how ordinals worked and hated them so he was pushing for a points-based scoring system but it wasn't gaining any traction with the FS side within the ISU. After the SLC pairs scandal, on top of the 1999 Worlds pairs toe-tapping scandal, as well as the years and years of kvetching about ice dance judging being completely reputation based rather than assessing what the skaters were actually delivering on the ice, Speedy had all the ammunition he needed at the next ISU Congress to ram his new scoring system through. So, in that regard, SLC was the straw that broke the camel's back and ushered in COP/IJS.
 

skatingguy

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Speedy wanted a new scoring system well before the SLC pairs scandal. I can't remember which competition it was (sometime around 1996-98) where the ordinals flipped and caused the skater in 1st (Urmanov maybe?) to drop behind the skater in 2nd after the final skater's marks were announced. Speedy couldn't understand how ordinals worked and hated them so he was pushing for a points-based scoring system but it wasn't gaining any traction with the FS side within the ISU. After the SLC pairs scandal, on top of the 1999 Worlds pairs toe-tapping scandal, as well as the years and years of kvetching about ice dance judging being completely reputation based rather than assessing what the skaters were actually delivering on the ice, Speedy had all the ammunition he needed at the next ISU Congress to ram his new scoring system through. So, in that regard, SLC was the straw that broke the camel's back and ushered in COP/IJS.
Also the IOC was breathing down the neck of the ISU, and if you think the IOC wouldn't have stepped in and affected the control of the ISU just look at what happened in Olympic-eligible boxing this past summer.
 

mikey

...an acquired taste
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I'm sorry, but after reading of so many instances of abusive skating coaches being tolerated by their respective federations, the SLC judging mess strikes me now as comparatively small potatoes. I know it was more influential (the judging scandal generated some action, in the form of the IJS, but so far, very little if anything about getting rid of abusive coaches) but still ...
And you can discuss abusive coaches to your heart's content in that thread; this one is here to discuss the Netflix documentary on the SLC judging. See how that works?
 

sadya

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Speedy wanted a new scoring system well before the SLC pairs scandal. I can't remember which competition it was (sometime around 1996-98) where the ordinals flipped and caused the skater in 1st (Urmanov maybe?) to drop behind the skater in 2nd after the final skater's marks were announced. Speedy couldn't understand how ordinals worked and hated them so he was pushing for a points-based scoring system but it wasn't gaining any traction with the FS side within the ISU. After the SLC pairs scandal, on top of the 1999 Worlds pairs toe-tapping scandal, as well as the years and years of kvetching about ice dance judging being completely reputation based rather than assessing what the skaters were actually delivering on the ice, Speedy had all the ammunition he needed at the next ISU Congress to ram his new scoring system through. So, in that regard, SLC was the straw that broke the camel's back and ushered in COP/IJS.
Thank you for explaining. Now I understand the many comments of people working on this such as "we were already busy developping a new scoring system".
 

Jeanine

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Speedy wanted a new scoring system well before the SLC pairs scandal. I can't remember which competition it was (sometime around 1996-98) where the ordinals flipped and caused the skater in 1st (Urmanov maybe?) to drop behind the skater in 2nd after the final skater's marks were announced. Speedy couldn't understand how ordinals worked and hated them

If we’re thinking of the same competition, I think it was the Euros 97 men’s free skate. Ordinal were all over the place - IIRC, I think Andrejs Vlaschenko had marks from 1st to 7th with everything in between) and Urmanov went from 5th in the short to win overall, unheard of at the time. I used to be pretty good at working out the ordinals and seeing the patterns to figure out who was where and why but that one was beyond me. And most of us, I think!

Edited because I remember SkateWeb having a very detailed article about it at the time, and I went and looked it up and it's here - http://www.frogsonice.com/skateweb/obo/score-tech.shtml
 
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viennese

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I am still kind of confused by the motive behind the vote trading in the Pairs and Ice Dance event.

The pairs event was up for grabs, with the Canadians coming in as World Champions (though they did win the title at home) and the Russians winning two years before. They truly did have contrasting styles.

But did people feel that Dance gold would go to anyone but the French? Their free dance in 2002 didn't have the impact or emotion as previous skates? Were Lobacheva/Averbuch real rivals over the years?

Was this all about gangsters and gambling or national pride or what?
 

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